Stephanie Corey, Co-Founder, UpLevel Ops
Stephanie Corey is a co-founder of UpLevel Ops, a consulting firm specializing in providing services for in-house legal departments, universities and law firms. UpLevel Ops provides a complete range of Legal Operations support, including IT solutions, Finance and Budget guidance, Talent Management and Development, Benchmarking, Best Practices and Metrics, and Outside Counsel Selection and Management.
Stephanie is also a co-founder and former executive member of the leading legal operations trade organization CLOC, Corporate Legal Operations Consortium. She is a widely respected veteran in the Legal Ops field.
Most recently, Stephanie has served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Director of Legal Operations at Flex, which has a global legal department of more than 150 people in 15 countries. She has spent the better part of her career providing value-added services to Legal Departments, including building and deploying critical infrastructure to enable them to meet their business priorities. Stephanie’s areas of expertise include Information Technology, Finance, Communications and Administration.
Stephanie began her career at Merrill Lynch in Pennsylvania, and after relocating to California, she worked at Bailard, Biehl and Kaiser, an investment firm in Foster City. Once she decided to move into Corporate Finance, Stephanie took a position under the CFO, managing the Finance and Accounting Department at Provident Funding Mortgage Bank.
She later moved to Hewlett-Packard, where she was employed for eleven years as the head Legal Operations Manager, running a large IT and Finance Department. Her most recent role at HP was Chief of Staff to the General Counsel, responsible for managing the daily operations of the Legal Department, working closely with the General Counsel and his reports to develop the strategy for the delivery of technology, finance and administrative solutions.
Stephanie holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Lehigh University, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wilkes University.
Who is UpLevel Ops and What Do We Bring to the Table
UpLevel Ops is unique in that both general partners have been in-house for the vast majority of their careers. The UpLevel team brings real-world knowledge about industry trends, benchmarks and how peers in the market are defining “world class” as it relates to strategy, technology and all processes throughout the department. Over the course of their in-house careers, they addressed the ever-changing legal environment by developing a governing framework aligned to the corporate business strategy so their departments could appropriately respond to and invest in critical areas of the business. They created strategies that provided long-term direction and identified and capitalized on the unique competencies of their in-house teams, and now they’re doing the same for their clients.
Beyond strategic planning, the team at UpLevel has implemented multiple types of solutions and programs, including:
Legal operations strategies and roadmaps
eBilling and matter management
Contract lifecycle management
eSignature policies and software
Knowledge management and collaboration
Document management and retention
Budgets and financial analysis
Outside counsel management
Value based pricing and alternative fee arrangements
Data analytics and metrics
Alternative support models and use of alternative service providers
Growth and development
Most importantly, UpLevel will be available to work with your legal department to implement the recommendations, rather than just provide recommendations and move on to the next project. UpLevel believes that this is a competitive differentiator and will stay involved to ensure that all proposed deliverables will be in place and fully functioning at the highest levels.
Why Work with a Qualified Operations Expert?
According to the 2017 Blickstein Group/Exterro Study of Effective Legal Spend Management, only 17% of companies find their legal technology to be “Very Effective,” with 33% finding their technology to be downright “Ineffective” or “Very Ineffective.” Why such disturbing results? Although solution providers are excellent at showing what their software can do, and legal departments have a clear understanding of their needs, much is lost in translation between the two, resulting in disappointing implementations.
Furthermore, while choosing the wrong tech is a significant problem, another factor that plagues tech implementations even more seriously is that not enough work is done up front to scope out the current state, streamline and document processes, create robust business requirements, and truly understand the needs of the legal department. Tech vendors are not good at performing these critical steps in the process, and in-house teams often lack the bandwidth or expertise from a tech perspective.
A qualified legal operations expert will…
Learn the culture of the company, the law department and its appetite for change
Help the law department understand which technology truly fits its budget, environment and culture, and can even help to find creative ways to fund the purchase (such as sharing the expense with another department within the company)
Create an ROI for each solution to facilitate buy-in
Provide feedback on which processes should be changed, enhanced, removed or streamlined
Suggest which practices can be automated such that attorneys and other team members can move up the value chain
Offer insight into industry best practices and provide recommendations on how to achieve them
Create a change management and communication plan for the successful adoption of new processes and systems
Lastly, there is an inherent conflict in having the selected vendor perform the implementation because their incentive is to upsell functionality and additional products clients may not truly need. A third party will advocate on behalf of the client, not the vendor.
Our value add from UpLevel is to be an outside third party with extensive hands-on experience in all these areas, and the time and commitment to drive the process to a timely conclusion, having no separate agenda other than to produce the best results possible. Most importantly, we will be focused on working with our clients to create a practical plan that can be easily implemented and operationalized.